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NEWS: Altior tops Champion Chase bill
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NEWS: Altior tops Champion Chase bill
on 10 January 2019
22 entries for the Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase have been announced

Altior headlines 22 entries for the £400,000 Grade 1 Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase on Wednesday, March 13th at Cheltenham.

Trained by Nicky Henderson and owned by Patricia Pugh, Altior is undefeated in three starts at Cheltenham Magners and is going for back-to-back victories over the Old Course at Cheltenham in the two-mile Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase, following an impressive seven-length victory over Min in 2018.

If successful, he would bring Henderson's sixth Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase victory, equalling the record for a trainer in the race held by the late Tom Dreaper.

Willie Mullins accounts for four of the 10 Irish-trained entries, with Min accompanied by last year's impressive G1 Racing Post Arkle Novices' Chase winner Footpad, nine-time Grade 1 scorer Un De Sceaux and Great Field.

The Irish challenge also includes the Henry de Bromhead-trained 12-year-old Special Tiara, winner of the Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase in 2017, and Grade 2 Hilly Way Chase victor Castlegrace Paddy trained by Pat Fahy.

Sceau Royal also takes his chances following his win at the November Meeting. He defeated the Nicky Richards-trained Simply Ned by two and a quarter lengths in the Grade 2 Shloer Chase.

The only mare among the entries is Lady Buttons, trained by Phil Kirby. The nine-year-old is three from three so far this season. Her record over fences stands at four wins from five starts.

A mare has yet to win the Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase, with the last one to be placed being the great Anaglogs Daughter - runner-up to Drumgora in 1981.

North Yorkshire-based Phil Kirby said: "Lady Buttons has come out of Doncaster in good form.

"We were delighted with her performance and this season, she has just kept on improving.

"She has always been a horse we have held in high regard. She had a couple of niggles earlier on in her career, but the last couple of seasons have been excellent and she has progressed with every run.

"We have entered her in the Champion Chase. We are still to make a decision as to where she runs next as there are not a whole load of options at two miles for mares.

"It was pleasing at Doncaster that she demonstrated she stays further."

Paul Nicholls, who has won the Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase on five occasions, has Grade 1 Melling Chase victor and last year's fourth Politologue among his two contenders, while Colin Tizzard's sole entry is the 2017 runner-up Fox Norton.

Other notables include God's Own and the Harry Whittington-trained Saint Calvados.

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